This week’s column is a redux and addendum to last week’s blog entry on Lincoln Invasion and the Lincoln Is A Music City organization (which is here). As you’ll see, Son of 76 and The Watchmen frontman Josh Hoyer read that piece and sent a thoughtful, well-written response explaining the name and the mission. Interestingly, Omaha doesn’t have anything like LIAMC, unless you count Benson as a whole. One could also point toward the OEAA’s, but that has evolved into another Benson-music-boosting organization, and doesn’t really represent the city of Omaha as a whole.
Column 274: Bold Statement
Will the real Music City please stand up?
Nobody likes the idea of competition when it comes to art and music. And yet… whenever “Omaha invades Lincoln” or “Lincoln invades Omaha,” it begs the question as to which scene has the strongest roster of bands — maybe only to me and a few other a-holes, but the question does come up.
And it’s becoming harder and harder to defend Omaha, especially when you look over the line-up playing the second annual Lincoln Invasion festival July 9 in Benson: The Amalgamators, Amy Schmidt, Diamond Kazzoo, Dirty Talker, Ember Schrag, Husbands, Kris Lager Band, Machete Archive, Manny Coon, Masses, Mercy Rule, No One Conquered, Wyoming; Once A Pawn, Orion Walsh, Pharmacy Spirits, The Power, The Renfields, Ron Wax, Shaun Sparks and the Wounded Animals, Shipbuilding Co., Smith’s Cloud, South Of Lincoln, Tie These Hands, and The Vingins.
Very solid. The only bands missing (that come to mind) are High Art (The latest project by Darren Keen of the Show Is the Rainbow), For Against, UUVVWWZ, Son of 76 and The Watchmen and Ideal Cleaners. Event organizer Jeremy Buckley said High Art is playing the night before at The Waiting Room; and the rest simply were unavailable. “I think we were able to balance a lineup of established acts with a good number of newer bands that have made waves in Lincoln, but haven’t had much exposure in Omaha yet,” Buckley said.
The venues involved in the one-day music orgy: The Barley Street Tavern, Burke’s Pub, Benson Grind, Louis, The Sydney and The Waiting Room. A mere $8 will get you into all six venues all night, or $5 gets you into any one venue for the evening.
According to a press release, the fest is being “supported” by an organization lamely called “Lincoln Is A Music City” — a “collection of people who are interested in promoting and growing the local music scene in Lincoln, NE,” according to their website.
The title is a bold statement. Most people consider Lincoln to be a “Football City” or the state capital or a great place to get drunk, but “A Music City”? And if Lincoln is “a music city,” then what is Omaha? Can Omaha be a “Music City” too? Which one really deserves the title? And here we go again…
The whole thing sounds silly. Most people think of Nashville as “a music city,” or New Orleans. But not Omaha, and certainly Lincoln, but I guess to the handful of bands behind the effort, Lincoln can be whatever they want it to be.
Lincolnite Josh Hoyer — Son of 76 frontman and reluctant spokesman for the effort — explained that “Lincoln Is a Music City” started as a slogan printed on a banner used for a group photo of more than 200 Lincoln musicians. “From that there were some folks wanting to make T shirts with the same phrase,” he said. “So I asked that we get together and talk about raising money from the sales to promote our growing music scene. From those meetings a few things happened, one of which was a decision to call the group ‘Lincoln Is a Music City’ instead of Lincoln Music Union or Star City Music Nerds, etc. That idea was put forward by Jon Taylor of Mercy Rule. We dug it, and hence the name was born.”
Hoyer said he has no delusions of Lincoln being anywhere near the stature of Nashville or New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle, NYC or even Omaha for that matter. “We are a sports town,” he said, “but that is exactly why we are making the effort to raise awareness in Lincoln — to the population that doesn’t go out for live music — that our city really does have some great musicians and bands. The slogan is kind of the carrot before the horse carriage. It was our thought that with work, publicity, organization and passion, Lincoln could become a music city as well as a sports city.”
Helping him with his cause is a handful of musicians, promoters and club owners, including Buckley and Lincoln Invasion co-conspirator Dub Wardlaw, Brendan Evans, Jon Taylor and Brendan McGinn of Her Flyaway Manner. So far they’ve started a free all-local concert series at UN-L, launched a local music radio show on community station KZUM Friday nights at 6 hosted Taylor and his lovely bass playing/singing wife Heidi Ore, and helped organize the Lincoln-named festivals, such as Lincoln Invasion, Lincoln Exposed and Lincoln Calling. They’re also thinking about starting a ‘zine that would be an alternative toGround Zero, Lincoln’s entertainment/arts rag.
For Hoyer, making Lincoln a “music city” was part of his decision to plant roots there. “I have a 1-year-old daughter, and instead of moving back to New Orleans (where he lived for six months) we decided to raise her in a safer place with a better support system,” he said. “However, I was in love with NOLA because music is a way of life there. I want to make a living playing music… and I am. I believe Lincoln is a musically diverse and talented city. The trick is getting a larger mass of people here to embrace that and start filling the clubs.
“Who knows where it will end up? But what I do know is, the people that have a passion for music in Lincoln are true blue, as well as talented and creative. Lincoln is a Music City. At least in my eyes it is. I’m just trying to persuade a few other folks to feel the same way.”
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Tonight, local legendary hardcore band Hercules plays a rare show at The Hole on a bill that includes Minnesota band In Defense, High Dive and Agress. No price listed on the Myspace page, but it’s probably $5, and starts at 7 p.m. No Booze!
Also tonight, Korey Anderson and Edge of Arbor open for Matt Cox Band at The Waiting Room. $5, 9 p.m.